Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Puri, Jul 7:
Differences persist over what kind of idol of Goddess Lakshmi should be installed in the 12th century Shree Jagannath temple in Odisha’s holy city of Puri.
While some are of the opinion that a metal idol made of gold be installed, others are in favour of an idol made of daru (neem wood) with gold cladding over it.
Difference also prevails over whether it should be the puja panda or the deula purohit who should conduct the consecration ritual of the new idol.
The matter of collecting daru for the idol of Goddess Lakshmi did arise at the time of Banajaga Yatra. However, the Nabakalebara of Goddess Lakshmi was postponed for varied reasons.
With the Mahajan Nijog now demanding installation/consecration of the metal idol made of gold, the dispute continues.
Prior to the Banajaga Yatra the idol of the Goddess placed in the Dakshini Ghara of the Shree Jagannath temple was examined and found to be made of wood with gold coating over it.
Earlier, everybody was under the impression that the idol was made of solid gold. The Shankaracharya’s opinion was sought over the making of the idol.
The Shankaracharya is learnt to have opined in favour of a daru idol. But despite it, differences persist on various counts.
In the meantime, the Mahajan Nijog is insistent on installation of the solid gold idol of the Goddess made in 1972.
Last month, the Nijog had warned that if its demand is not met with, it won’t mount ‘Madanmohan’ atop the chariot. The Nijog had also raised demands for an office room for the Nijog and hike in allowances for the Rath Yatra.
The Nijog office bearers Monday held discussions with the chief administrator of Shree Jagannath Temple Administration (SJTA) on these demands.
The main demands of the Nijog office bearers were suitable compensation for the 2014 Rath Yatra, installation of the Laxmi idol made of solid gold, own building for the Nijog’s office, permission for Nijog’s Bhog office and a Rath award for the Nijog on the lines of the one given to the Puspalaka Nijog.
The SJTA chief administrator is learnt to have promised the office bearers to raise the allowances of the Nijog for the Rath Yatra and to arrange a room near the Uttara dwar for the Nijog’s office.
The chief administrator has told the Nijog office bearers that the issue pertaining to the installation of the Goddess Lakshmi’s idol will be taken up for discussion after the Rath Yatra while a joint meeting between the puja panda and the deula purohit will be held after the Rath Yatra to decide who will consecrate/install the idol